Cavalier Corner

October 2017

Cavalier Corner is the publication just for UVa sports fans!

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 19 of 31

20 CAVALIER CORNER Growing up with a dad who was a college soccer coach, a mom that coaches club soc- cer, uncles that are all soccer coaches and playing soccer with her cousins "since she could walk," it was inevitable. "It's what I always looked forward to after school and I go to practice and … it's just become a way of life at this point and it's just really enjoyable," Ziemer said. "I feel my best when I play games and am playing well. It's just an amazing feeling." The Santa Ana, Calif., native concluded her prep soccer career with 87 goals and 48 assists playing for Montgomery High School, and was named the California Gatorade State Player of the Year in both 2015 and 2016. She also was a member of the U.S. Soccer Under-18 Women's National Team. Among the myriad of schools that vied for her talents, Virginia was an early visit for Ziemer and her college choice quickly became evident. "I knew basically right when I was vis- iting that I wanted to come," she said. "I loved the campus. I'm from California and hadn't ever seen anything like it. Just walk- ing around campus, it was beautiful. "That was the main selling point. [UVA head coach] Steve [Swanson] is one of the best coaches in the country so that was a big selling point as well." Ziemer also noted that the team environ- ment in Charlottesville made it easy for her to see herself in orange and blue. She ended up being part of a 2016 class that was considered by recruiting services to be a consensus top-five haul nationally. "The team camaraderie when I came on my visit, it stood out to me how much they liked each other and how welcoming they were to me," she said. "It was a no-brainer. I love it. It's everything that I dreamed of and hoped." Ziemer is one of six returning starters from last year's UVA squad that advanced to the round of 16 at the NCAA Tournament. Through nine matches, she led the No. 5 Wa- hoos in goals (three), assists (two) and points (eight). Last season as a freshman, she started 15 of 22 matches and finished tied for second in goals (eight) and third in points (18). Following a solid rookie campaign, Ziemer put a high emphasis on fitness entering 2017. "I came in last summer and I was really fit," she said. "Then I just kind of lost it for some reason. Toward the end of the season I couldn't stay in for as long as I would have liked so coming in this year, it was really im- portant for me to be fit and try to hold on to my fitness in a way that I hadn't last season. "Another thing was like playing quicker," Ziemer continued. "Your first college sea- son is always a bit of a wake-up call. Every- body's really good and you have to play a lot quicker than you did in club soccer. "This season and in the spring, it was a focus of mine to play quicker and have ideas before I got the ball. I also thought I played a little safe at times last fall. In the spring, I really worked on trying to express myself more on the field and play more how I knew I could on the field, take more chances and do more on my own every once in a while." With a brutal early season schedule, Ziemer and her teammates have had the opportunity to be more aggressive. Virginia was slated to face seven teams that finished the 2016 season ranked among the top 25 nationally plus 10 teams that participated in the 2016 NCAA Tournament, including six that went to the Sweet 16. Virginia posted a 5-2-2 record through Sept. 18, which in- cluded victories over then-No. 2 West Vir- ginia and then-No. 5 Penn State. "This season we've had a rough pre- season so we know we can compete with anyone and we know what to look at going forward, what to work on and it's just been a really good preseason," Ziemer said. Ziemer credits the team's trip to Europe in late May with helping the team to gel early. "It was an amazing trip," she said. "It was great for team bonding. We got to walk around beautiful cities with our teammates and go explore and spend time with them, just a fun environment. "It was really cool and we played some really good teams and got to try out our new formation. A lot of people got to play so it was a really good preseason." Ziemer recalls a visit to Normandy, France, as the most moving moment of trip. "We had a tour guide at Omaha Beach and he was explaining what our troops had to go through to secure the beach and it was unreal," she recalled. "Just standing there and thinking about all of the lives lost, how lucky we are to have what we have, how hard people fought for us to keep our freedoms. "It was unreal standing on that beach and going to the museums. It was a surreal experience. It was definitely something I won't forget. Ever. It really puts things in a new perspective." Ziemer paced the Cavaliers in goals (three), as- sists (two) and points (eight) during their 5-2-2 start this season. PHOTO BY MATT RILEY/COURTESY UVA WAY OF LIFE Second-Year UVA Forward Taylor Ziemer Was Born To Play Soccer "It's what I always looked forward to after school and I go to practice and … it's just become a way of life at this point and it's just really enjoyable. I feel my best when I play games and am playing well. It's just an amazing feeling." ZIEMER BY GREG WATERS F OR VIRGINIA WOMEN'S SOCCER FORWARD TAYLOR Ziemer, playing soccer has been a lifetime of fun. "I've played soccer my whole life," the second-year Cavalier said. "I play soccer and it's what I'm good at, and I love it. It's just something that I've always done. I have a lot of fun doing it. "Being able to play soccer and kind of have it be my job is awesome. I have so much fun with it."

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Cavalier Corner - October 2017